Competence as a Coach

Continuing with the research surrounding my January 25, 2012 post the number two need of teachers is – COMPETENCE AS A COACH.

COMPETENCE AS A COACH – are you skilled at the areas in which you are observing me in and also qualified to coach me in these areas?

The majority of teachers surveyed stressed that instructional coaches must have been successful classroom teachers before they could ever be effective coaches. In focus groups, teachers repeatedly stressed that longevity in classroom teaching did not equate to competency in classroom teaching. They further added that there is a mind-set within American education that longevity equals mastery, and that coaching is often structured to reward time-in-the system as opposed to ability-to-effectively-communicate/teach. The majority concurred too that coaching is wholly without merit if the coach lacks high competence, or is perceived as lacing high competency.

One responding teacher in Florida noted that (instructional) coaches need to have been successful classroom teachers. Forty five percent (45%) of respondents indicated they strongly agreed with that statement. Its not acceptable for coaches to have been marginal or ineffective teachers. Too often we hear of teachers having been moved into a coaching postion due to longevity in the classroom. Using time on the job as suggestions is often seen as “instructionally incompetent.” Attempting to coach without full context of the classroom, students, or teachers sets the intention of coaching on the wrong path. In terms of continuous growth as a coach, Silsbee (2008) offered that we as coaches should engage in “mastery in working our own habits earns us the right to do the same with [those] we coach.”

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